Research Reports - Traumatic brain injury in juvenile offenders

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2015 Mar-Apr;30(2):106-15

Chitsabesan P(1), Lennox C, Williams H, Tariq O, Shaw J

BACKGROUND: Young people in contact with the youth juvenile justice system have
well-documented vulnerabilities including high rates of mental health and
neurodevelopmental disorders. Studies have suggested that they may also be at
increased risk of traumatic brain injury (TBI).
OBJECTIVE: (1) To describe the profile of a cohort of juvenile offenders with TBI
and associated comorbidity with other neurodevelopmental disorders, mental health
needs, and offending behavior. (2) To describe the development of a specialist
brain injury service for juvenile offenders with TBI within custody.
METHODS: Ninety-three male participants aged 15 to 18 years were consecutively
admitted to a custodial secure facility. They were evaluated using a range of
different neurocognitive and mental health measures including the Rivermead
Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire and the Comprehensive Health Assessment
RESULTS: Eight-two percent of those interviewed reported experiencing at least 1
TBI, and 44% reported ongoing neuropsychological symptoms. Eighteen percent of
those sustaining a TBI reported moderate-severe postconcussion symptoms.
CONCLUSIONS: There is a high prevalence of TBI in juvenile offenders in custody,
with many experiencing multiple episodes. This study highlights the need for
further research in this area. An example of a specialist brain injury linkworker
service is described as one example of a model of service delivery for this

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